Bob Downes: Electric City (2010)
Songs such as the opening "No Time Like The Present" might have invited speculation that Polygram perceived Downes' eclectic music as something of a Trojan horse into the lucrative rock marketindeed, it was also released as Downes' only 45 rpm single (backed with "Keep Off The Grass")but this material's jazz element confounds any accusations of selling out. "Gonna Take A Journey," for example, begins as a free blowing session, culminating in a heavy jazz-rock jam underpinned by assorted guitars and drum,s and an ensemble riff over top.
Whilst the vocal trackshalf the album features singingmay not be to everyone's taste, Downes nevertheless manages to impart a feeling of fervent, almost naïve honesty and a considerable amount of tenderness, as in the ballad "In Your Eyes."
The ensemble arrangements are excellent and the solosmainly taken by Downes and the guitarists (particularly Spedding and Russell)are positively gripping. Downes is a virtuoso flautist, as evidenced by tracks like the bluesy "Keep Off The Grass," but he also demonstrates some fiery free-blowing saxophone work on numbers like "Crush Hour." Resplendent with cover art reminiscent of Zappa's Burnt Weeny Sandwich (Ryko, 1970), this is an essential piece of psychedelic jazz history.
Track Listing: No Time Like The Present; Keep Off The Grass; Don't Let Tomorrow Get You Down; Dawn Until Dawn; Go Find Time; Walking On; Crush Hour; West 11; In Your Eyes; Piccadilly Circles; Gonna Take A Journey.
Personnel: Bob Downes: vocals, tenor saxophone, alto saxophone, alto flute, concert flute, bedee, saxophone mouthpieces; Dave Brooks: tenor saxophone; Don Faye: baritone saxophone; Nigel Carter: trumpet; Kenny Wheeler: trumpet; Bud Parks: trumpet, flugelhorn; Harold Beckett: trumpet, flugelhorn; Ian Carr: trumpet, flugelhorn; Ray Russell: guitar; Chris Spedding: guitar; Herbie Flowers: bass guitar; Daryl Runswick: bass guitar; Harry Miller: bass guitar; Dennis Smith: drums; Alan Rushton: drums; Clem Catini: drums; Robin Jones: congas, timbales.
Record Label: Esoteric Recordings
Style: Fusion/Progressive Rock